Or is it coronavirus? I actually don’t even care, because whatever it’s called, I’m frustrated. Just like any other sickness that my family has had the displeasure of catching, this virus has the potential to jack with us so hard. During any given cold & flu season, House Toni is down for at least 4 weeks every single time even one of us brings home something contagious, so that by the end of March, after we have all cycled through, say, flu and strep throat, and a vicious norovirus, I feel like we’ve been through a whole war, and Caleb always ends up missing way more work than he needs to.
With 8 people under one roof (4 of those people being aged 5 and under, 2 of those people being caretakers to the other SIX, and 1 of those people being the sole financial provider for all of them, and ZERO of the people having health insurance at the moment; plus an immunocompromised elderly person to take care of), the ability to casually consider this pandemic as a liberal media hoax is simply not an option. While I do realize that not everything in the news is 100% trustworthy these days, I absolutely do not have the luxury to fully buy into conspiracy theories and urban myths about fudged numbers and false data.
We wear the masks. We don’t go to gatherings of 10 or more people. We social distance. We are selective in what we do participate in—and who we participate with. We wash our hands and take our vitamins, and occasionally we get together with a small number of like-minded friends. We also respect the opinions and choices of those in our social circle who are on a different page.
Continuing this routine, when it seems like everyone around us is living it up mask-less and carefree all over town, has been one of the suckiest things we’ve ever had to commit to doing. Even more difficult is smiling and nodding when well-meaning people earnestly try to explain to me why they believe my efforts are most likely in vain based on stories they’ve heard from their second cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s brother’s dog.
I don’t feel the need to defend my intelligence or my decisions, but I will say that I try to heed the advice of my friends who are medical professionals, who are treating patients, young and old, in hot spots across the country as I type this. Even with all the questionable reports and one-sided articles floating around on the internet, there is enough solid evidence, nationally & globally, to suggest that this new disease is something to take seriously—and shame on the people who scoff at those who are trying to do just that.
I realize that in a month, when school starts, the proverbial floodgates will open and my kids will probably literally ingest all the Covid. They’ll bring it home on the first day and sneeze it directly into my eye and that’ll be that. I’ve made my peace with it. Maybe we’ll have insurance by then. Maybe we won’t. Maybe this really is all fake news that will mysteriously just disappear after November; or maybe our whole country will be down for the count by Christmas, and there will be widespread famine and cherry coke shortages, governmental collapse and anarchy and every-man-for-himself walking-dead type crap. I’ve made peace with that too.
What I have yet to come to grips with is this (and this is some real talk because my gut honesty is a lot harder to put out there than my common-sense logical thoughts):
How do we assimilate ourselves back into society after being separated for so long from our friends, whose family set-ups and circumstances now seem so vastly different from our own?
How do I settle back into a routine with people that I now struggle to relate to?
How do I talk with people who have so strongly disagreed with the way I have navigated my family through this pandemic?
How do I look into the eyes of people who have openly ridiculed the caution taken by families like mine? How do I play nice with people who I feel have so flippantly and arrogantly disregarded the most basic safety measures designed to protect families like mine?
How do I ask for grace when I am struggling to show grace? How do I ask for forgiveness when my own heart feels so angry for no reason? How do I cope with the loneliness that has settled so deep in my soul during this time of quarantine?
These are the things that keep me up at night, not catching a virus.